Ebay aims to inspire with 'world's first shoppable panto'

Ebay is placing "inspiration" at the heart of its Christmas marketing activity, with the "world's first shoppable pantomime" and its first TV sponsorship deal.

Ebay pantomime: audience members will be encouraged to shop via tablet
Ebay pantomime: audience members will be encouraged to shop via tablet

The online retailer is putting on a pantomime at Charing Cross Theatre, London, which features the Fairy Godmother prompting audience members to pick out a Christmas gift idea at various points throughout the show. 

Members of the audience are encouraged to submit their email addresses on tablets they are provided with before the show, while the gift ideas they pick out are emailed to them after the performance.

Experiential activity is being supported by the brand’s first TV sponsorship deal that will see it sponsor all festive entertainment on Channel 4 properties, as it seeks to make eBay a destination for Christmas shopping.

A series of idents with a "whatever inspires you this Christmas" message will show 14 characters browsing for gift ideas on tablets.

Ebay has placed inspiration at the heart of the message after carrying out a One Poll study of 2,000 UK residents that found 60% of people "browse endlessly without buying".

Patrick Munden, head of retail marketing at eBay, predicts this year Christmas will be more "elongated", with the busiest shopping day coming this Sunday (1 December).

He said: "It used to dive off a cliff a couple of days after that, but this year the following Sunday will be just as big and in the past we wouldn’t have seen that."

People buying presents later on eBay will come as it continues to roll out its click-and-collect offering, which has already been rolled out to 150 Argos stores and allows customers to pick up gifts right up until 23 December.

Munden said: "People are becoming more comfortable with buying [online] later in the shopping process."

The retailer claims 75% of products sold on its site are now "new and fixed price" as opposed to around 60% in 2011.

Debenhams is the latest retailer to partner with eBay and this month agreed to sell 52,000 items on the eBay platform.

All proceeds from the 'Cinderella: an Inspirational Fair-Retail' pantomime will go to the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust. 

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